“I’m Going To Tell Him Off”

At lunchtime we drove to William Gilpin school at Pilley where, for the establishment’s Food Festival, we joined Elizabeth, Danni, Ella, Jack, Adam, Thea, and Jasper – my sister, niece, great niece, great nephew, nephew, niece-in-law, and great nephew respectively – although, as will be seen, respect didn’t really come into it for Ella.

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This was a well-attended happy event in perfect sunny, yet temperate weather.

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It was suggested that I might like to sit on a hay bale if I needed to rest my knees. I explained that, were I to do so, I would be unable to get up. Mind you, I would not have needed protection from the tiger from one of these seats.

Apart from the odd tree root this terrain was flat enough for me to wander around reasonably comfortably.

Because we had eaten toast at home before we left we felt no need to join the

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lengthy queues for food, the most popular of which seemed to be for pizzas

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and tacos.

Having arrived earlier, the younger families were happily fed.

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Thea clutched a cardboard container

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while Jasper and Ella climbed in and out of building bricks of large solid tyres.

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Jack took everything in although he didn’t say much.

Did I mention the tiger?

Well, when I did decide I would like to sit down for a bit, I joined a group resting on a seat built around a large oak tree. I chose the highest section and chatted happily with the woman next to me, until I was approached by an artistically painted tiger who, stern-faced stated “I was sitting there”.

My neighbour explained to the fierce feline that “this gentleman needs to sit here”. This cut no ice so I shifted sideways. The tiger, having made her point, leaving the open space sat on the other side of me.

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I then owned up to knowing that when this particular little big cat told you to do something you’d best comply, thus revealing my relationship to my great niece.

Sharing the amusement later I learned from Thea that Ella had pointed out that I was sitting in her place and, marching across from the tyre, stated “I’m going to tell him off”.

We all decamped to Elizabeth’s for a short while before Jackie and I returned home, where Becky and Ian brought back Dillon, Flo, and Ellie, quickly turning around to their own home.

The four of us dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway fare. My main choice was Naga Chilli Chicken and vegetable rice with which I finished the Malbec. We shared peshwari naans. Jackie didn’t imbibe and Flo and Dillon drank fruit cordial

Continuing To Cater

This was another fine, but cool, day.

As usual when Jackie stepped out of the stable door to fill the robin family’s breakfast tray

Nugget appeared in the wisteria before she had opened the cereal jar.

Soon after the Head Gardener had attended to her ever-multiplying avian infants we set out on what was planned as a garden centre crawl. In fact there was such a dearth of bedding plants which were all we could possibly make room for, that we stopped at two.

Ferndene Farm Shop presented its usual, smoothly moving, orderly queues, masked  members maintaining mandatory distance. I loaded bags of compost while Jackie paid for it and added a considerable quantity of bird food.

The next stop was Redcliffe, where there was no queue

and Jackie acquired a few flowers. Needless to say, like all other eating places, the Tea Room was closed.

This afternoon I dead-headed a number of roses.

The climber on the front trellis isn’t quite ready for the treatment, neither is

Perennial Blush along the back drive.

Also in the front garden we have calendula Orange Flush and deep red sweet William. The Euphorbia Mellifera in the background is just one of those we have whose honeyed scent lives up to its name.

The large blousy orange poppy, now past her bloom of youth nurtures a bud to take her place, while

the fully mature rose Margaret Merrill shares her bed with crisp offspring, with younger buds, and with an older relative whose time is done.

This was past siskin siesta time, so greenfinches were up and about drawing upon verdant leaves for camouflage. The clamour of a host of birds and their young filled the air around me.

The owls in this view of the Weeping Birch Bed looking northwards remain silent.

The peach rose beside the patio is pretty prolific.

If this is a bee on an erigeron

what is this?

Nugget Junior now fends for himself

while his Dad continues

to cater for his younger brothers and sisters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, bacon, and vegetable soup with crusty bread from the freezer, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido.

 

The Blue Coat

Suitably equipped for the fray

Jackie joined the queue at Tesco five minutes before opening time. She really felt for the woman in the blue coat.

The orderly social distancing exhibited outside the supermarket was somewhat belied by the few customers who reached past others to claim items they were afraid might disappear. Although we didn’t need any, Mrs Knight reported that toilet rolls were in stock.

Perhaps the fact that the fresh meat, fish, and deli counters were off limits enabled her to

feel relaxed about photographing sheep and lambs along Christchurch Road on her way home.

After watering the pots in the front garden this afternoon – the Head Gardener was to hose those at the back later – I took a trip to Honeylake Wood and back.

This involved walking along Christchurch Road past the closed Royal Oak pub, Downton Garage, Woods used car establishment, and a row of cottages, to the currently fallow field featuring a footpath to the wood.

Sandbags line the pub’s front porch, suggesting the management had not anticipated our current dry spell when the coronavirus closures were required.

This gentleman walking a couple of dogs

back to the kissing gate

was clearly complying with the request to keep canines under control.

Choosing to eschew the gate which others will have touched, I entered via a gap in the hedge beside the disused telephone box and the still active letter box.

I then walked along the edge of the field to the footpath.

Like most local fields this one is fenced by wind-sculpted trees.

The winding path through the wood

slopes down to a bridge over a stream. The photographs above indicate the fleeting nature of the shadow-casting sun. The bridge has been repaired since my last trip down here, but I did not lean on it for the same reason that I avoided the gate.

The banks of the stream were embroidered with gentle yellow primroses.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs of considerable size crisply roasted with potatoes and parsnips; Yorkshire puddings, carrots and spring greens, with which I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018. Jackie had finished her Hoegaarden while cooking.

‘What Else Can you Do On A Rainy Day?’

CLICKING ON IMAGES, TWICE IF NECESSARY, WILL ENLARGE THEM.

It rained steadily all day, so we decided to take another large bag of garden waste to Efford Recycling Centre.

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Almost immediately we were held in a long tailback trailing down Christchurch Road. Clearly there were roadworks ahead. Eventually the sight of a yellow cherry picker on the other side of the road, its operator vanishing into foliage on high, confirmed what we had begun to suspect. Yes, it was our old friends BT/Open Reach engineers fixing an outage. Even worse, there was another further along the thoroughfare. (As I typed this, we lost our connection. Sod’s law.)

I had suggested the trip because I thought there wouldn’t be many people patronising the dump on such a day. I was wrong.

Rain on windscreen in queue

Rain on side window

We sat in possibly the longest queue for a dump we have experienced. It offered no convenience.

I ventured to suggest this had not been such a good idea after all. My lady kindly replied with ‘What else can you do on a rainy day?’.

Eventually we unloaded our clippings. I attempted to get straight back into the car. But. Jackie didn’t. She was off to the Sales Area where she bought a stack of plain white plates and two white metal lanterns. Whilst she was in the undercover section,

Owls

I thought it would be a hoot to sneak off and buy the smaller of these, which I did. The Head Gardener then spotted the second, which it would have been unkind to have left on its own. Both were beautifully weathered. So it had been worth the trip after all.

Not wishing to join the traffic queue back home, we took a diversion around Sway and Tiptoe. As usual in such weather, ponies were largely absent, presumably sheltering deep within the forest.

Cattle

A string of cattle, however, stubbornly cropped the heathland. Presumably in an attempt to keep reasonably dry they walked along at an unusually steady pace as they chomped.

Cow in ditch

A few loners, not minding soggy hooves, paddled in the ditches.

Steak pie meal 1Steak pie meal 2

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie, crunchy carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I partook of Bodega Toneles 22 malbec 2012.